TCSS expects metal detector proposal in November

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, October 12, 2022

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The Troup County School System is expected to consider a proposal in November that would place metal detectors at middle schools and high schools.

Superintendent Brian Shumate said a formal proposal was not ready for the October meeting, but that the task force meant to discuss school safety is expected to recommend high-quality metal detectors, better described as weapons detection systems.

A traditional metal detector can only manage about 300 or 400 people walking through an hour. The more advanced weapon detection systems the school system is considering will cost substantially more — Shumate estimated around $80,000 for each one — but 1300 people can walk through, at normal pace, in a single lane in an hour. The systems being considered can also handle double lanes, meaning double the efficiency and speed.

Shumate said they are looking at two to three of these systems per school, depending on the layout of each campus. The detectors are expected to be paid for out of CARES funding.

The larger expense — at least long-term — will involve staffing the detectors. Shumate said TCSS is considering a staffing model that would include hiring somewhere between six and ten security officers to run the detectors.

“They are not licensed, aren’t sworn officers and won’t carry a badge or a gun,” Shumate said. “But they are trained to monitor the machines.”

The salary and exact job description were not finalized yet and are expected to be a part of November’s proposal to the board.

Both Hope Academy and the Troup County Career Center already have metal detectors.

“I hate that we are even having these conversations but in today’s world that’s where we are,” said Board Chairwoman Cathy Hunt.